We will resist BJP’s attacks on Constitution, says Rahul Gandhi in Karnataka
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been crisscrossing the state ahead of the crucial assembly elections, likely to be held in May, with the ruling Congress facing a stiff challenge from the BJP.india Updated: Mar 25, 2018 07:28 IST
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused the ruling BJP at the Centre of attacking the Constitution with an aim of changing it but vowed to protect the guiding principles of the country.
Gandhi’s sharp attack on the BJP came during a rally at Chamarajanagar on the first day of his fourth and final leg of his statewide tour titled Janasahirvada Yatra. Gandhi has been crisscrossing the state ahead of the crucial assembly elections, likely to be held in May, with the ruling Congress facing a stiff challenge from the BJP.
“The BJP has started a new fashion of attacking the Constitution. (BR) Ambedkar fought for this Constitution, but they want to change it. Through this rally I want to warn them, that we will not let this happen. No matter how hard they try we will not let them change Ambedkar’s Constitution,” the Congress president said.
Gandhi also praised Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler whose legacy has been a source of constant dispute, with the Congress government in the state celebrating him and the BJP alleging that he murdered many Hindus.
“Karnataka’s great men have made this land what it is. Tipu Sultan, S Visvesvaraya, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, and the poet Kuvempu,” Gandhi said.
He added that the philosophy of the 12th century reformer Basaveshwara, credited with having founded the Lingayat religion, formed the Congress’s ideology. Earlier this week, the Congress government led by chief minister Siddaramaiah accorded the status of a religion to the Lingayat sect, a move ridiculed by the BJP.
Invoking Basaveshwara’s teachings, Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of not following the philosopher’s famous dictum of practising what one preaches.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi visited the temple of Chamundeshwari in Mysuru and interacted with students at the Maharani College in the city.
Referring to this interaction, Gandhi said: “In the morning, I interacted with students and one student said demonetisation was a disaster, yet another said the GST (goods and services tax) at 28% with five slabs was counterproductive. This means students can understand the problems with these policies, but not Narendra Modi.”
The Congress president alleged that the BJP stole people’s money and never gave them anything back. “BJP stole your money and gave it to the rich. Their four ministers and chief minister went to jail. But we give money back to you,” he said, highlighting many welfare schemes of the state government.
Later, addressing a rally at Malavalli in Mandya, Gandhi took aim at the Janata Dal (Secular), accusing it of having entered into an alliance with the BJP ahead of the polls.
“The JD(S) name has changed, the S no longer stands for secular. Instead, it stands for Sangh parivar,” the Congress president said, adding that it was bent on ensuring the BJP’s victory.
Reacting to the allegations made by Gandhi, BJP leader S Suresh Kumar said the Congress had no moral right to accuse the BJP of attempts to tinker with the Constitution.
“The most heinous attack on the fundamental rights of the people and the freedom of the press were attacked during the Emergency,” he said.
“If there is any party that can be credited with having attacked or tampered with the Constitution, it is the Congress and that party alone,” he said.
Kumar said the Congress seemed to adhere to a notion of history that was at odds with the people of the state. “People have a different view of Tipu Sultan, which we agree with, that was of a person who was out to annihilate Hindus,” he said.
Former chief minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy said by making such statements Gandhi was setting the stage for the Congress’s “funeral” in Karnataka. “He has no moral right to accuse us, especially considering the fact that his party begged us to form a coalition with them in the Bengaluru corporation.”
First Published: Mar 24, 2018 17:45 IST